[Siguse-l] Message 3 - The Literature: ARIST Chapters on Information Behavior
jenna.hartel at utoronto.ca
Tue Aug 23 05:11:57 EDT 2011
This post continues to address "The Literature" of our research area and
celebrates a second major resource: the /Annual Review of Information
Science and Technology/ <http://www.asis.org/Publications/ARIST/>
(/ARIST/) literature reviews of information behavior.
A special and important reference genre, the /literature review/ is a
survey of publications in a research area that summarizes major themes,
developments, and findings. Literature reviews are time and effort
saving devices for readers and the capstone of Shera and Egan's
"bibliographic pyramid" (1952) that underlies academic knowledge
production. The authors of literature reviews are typically seasoned
experts in a specialty or energetic younger scholars who use their
dissertation literature review as a point of departure.
I have fond memories of my early days as a doctoral student at UCLA and
diving headlong into/ARIST/ chapters, eager to "get my mind around" the
information behavior literature. Each chapter proved to be a snapshot of
information behavior scholarship in its day. As I moved longitudinally
through the /ARIST/ series, I was able to make out the contours,
evolution, and personality of the information behavior domain.
In his textbook on information behavior, Donald Case (2006, 238-243)
provides a great overview of /ARIST /chapters. //He states that /ARIST/
is "the main vehicle by which interested scholars kept abreast of
research on information behavior" (p. 239). Still, he critically
observes that the series is a real "patchwork" with "redundant" coverage
and "underdetermination" of relevant documents (p. 241); further, he
asserts that each review is not standardized but shaped by the
predilections of the author. Case also notes that the early /ARIST
/chapters (1966-1990) focus on "information behavior" as a whole and
later iterations target narrower topics as the speciality matured and
diversified. (For a handy listing of early /ARIST/ chapters from Case's
textbook, click here <http://www.jennahartel.com/arist-table.html>.)
Certain /ARIST /chapters mark important advances in scholarship that
devotees of information behavior should know. Paisely (1968) introduced
the idea of information behavior within several nested social
/contexts/; the same approach was rediscovered decades later and became
a mantra and banner over the "information seeking in context" movement
and conference (ISIC <http://informationr.net/isic/>). A spirited
chapter by Dervin & Nilan (1986) was a call to action to focus on the
human information user (versus the information system) and is probably
the most highly cited work in the information behavior literature. More
recently, Pettigrew, Fidel and Bruce's (2001) contribution captures the
increased methodological sophistication and diversity in our community.
The latest comprehensive /ARIST/ chapter on information behavior is a
mammoth one by Fisher and Julien (2009), which invited the research
community (via this mailing list) to nominate works for inclusion.
All SIG-USErs: Please share your thoughts on the information behavior
chapters in ARIST. It would be especially interesting to hear from
chapter authors: Brenda? Paul? Karen? Heidi? Others?
Thanks to Sarah and Lynn for stimulating responses to last week's
posting. Going forward, we consider another fine gateway into the
literature: Donald Case's (2006) information behavior textbook /Looking
for Information: A Survey of Research on Information Seeking, Needs, and
Behavior 2^nd ed./
Shera, J. & Egan, M. (1952). Foundations of a theory of bibliography,
/Library Quarterly/, 22, 125-137.
Jenna Hartel, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Faculty of Information
University of Toronto
140 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G6
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